I insist that the Egyptian revolution is having a huge effect on our discourse. Two indications that I am right:
–On Saturday, Hillary Mann Leverett was on MSNBC. Alex Witt asked her about the Muslim Brotherhood, and Leverett said they were a legitimate part of the Egyptian polity and were opposed to the inhumane blockade of Gaza. Or words to that effect. She went on for a bit about Gaza. It was a huge moment for the mainstream media, not to hear the usual b.s. about Hamas and weapons.
–Today on WNYC, public radio in New York, Brian Lehrer hosted on Nawal El Saadawi, an Egyptian feminist. When Lehrer got out some homiletics about how Suzanne Mubarak had been good for feminism in Egypt and had battled female genital mutilation, El Saadawi dismissed him, saying that the first lady had coopted feminism and actually deterred the battle against female genital mutilation. (This same analysis, applied to the Palestinians, would allow Americans to understand how the P.A. has normalized the occupation.) But let me salute Lehrer. To his great credit, Lehrer has been staggered by the Egyptian revolution and has responded by opening up his show to many Arab and Arab-American voices, including voices of the Egyptian Diaspora.
On the other hand, look at the list of 8 names just below the word “Directory” at Foreign Policy (it’s on a strip at the left hand side, halfway down the page). Eight men, five of them Jewish. No Arab-Americans. Yes I know, this is the flavor of the U.S. establishment. But it sure does feel a little samey.